ECONOMYNEXT – Father Jeevantha Peiris, a Sri Lankan Catholic priest prominently associated with the crisis-hit country’s youth-led anti-government protests, has filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition with the Supreme Court seeking an order to prevent his arrest.
Lasantha Manoj Nanayakkara, a lawyer closely affiliated with Fr Peiris, claimed the main reason for his anticipated arrest is a protest march held from Kollupitiya to the World Trade Centre on the 50th day of the protests movement known as the Aragalaya, or the Struggle.
A court order blocking protestors from some roads in Colombo was issued for that day to prevent traffic congestion or any incidents of violence.
Fr Peiris’ petition names Senior Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police in charge of the Western Province Deshabandu Thennakoon, Inspector General of Police (IGP) C D Wickramaratne, the commanders of tri-forces, the Attorney General and several others as respondents.
A travel ban has also been issued against the priest and four other activists, after the Colombo Fort police allegedly received information of a plan by some protestors to leave the country.
The names of Convenor of the Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) Wasantha Mudalige, trade union leader Joseph Stalin, National Organiser of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) Eranga Gunasekera, and Lahiru Weerasekera have been forwarded to the airport and the Immigration and Emigration Controller and the airport, reports said.
Meanwhile, police have raided a church in Ratnapura, the priest’s lawyer claimed. Fr. Peiris is a member of the Diocese in South Central of Sri Lanka. The police team had raided the church on July 27 in search of Fr. Peiris stating that there were orders to “arrest him on sight,” said Nanayakkara.
“Police raids had been conducted in Ratnapura. But we’re unable to identify which brand of the police were involved in this raid,” he said.
When contacted, a spokesman for the Ratnapura police said it was difficult to comment on the raid as different police divisions operate in the district. (Colombo/Aug02/2022)